Towards the end of last year I was on the hunt for blogging inspiration. Having neglected Bellyful of Art throughout the majority of 2017, I was desperate to reignite my creative spark, but was at a loss as to how to go about it.
Fortunately, I wasn’t stuck in a rut for too long (ten months isn’t considered long, is it?!!), but should you find yourself caught in a similar position, I thought perhaps it would be helpful if I shared a few tips on how I managed to rediscover my blogging spark.
Find and follow bloggers you admire
Once I’d made the decision to dedicate some serious time to finding inspiration, the first thing I did was search for new blogs (blogs that were new to me, not necessarily new to the world) that posted a variety of thought-provoking content yet still had an appealing aesthetic. As it turned out, many of the blogs that matched this criteria also offered fantastic blogging advice – hooray!
Early on I stumbled across one particular blog that I continue to visit regularly. Written by journalist-turned blogger Amber McNaught, Forever Amber features fashion, beauty and travel posts alongside articles on parenting, pregnancy and more. Amber has a candid writing style that immediately engages the reader and she also dedicates an entire category on her blog to sharing tips and advice. I’ve found much inspiration from this site, so if you’re struggling with a particular aspect of your blog or if you’re just looking for a good read, make sure you check her out.
Amber’s not the only one out there willing to share her expertise. Recently I’ve stumbled upon Milly Schmidt who writes and compiles helpful posts such as Ask the blogger: how did you get so many followers? and How did I grow my blog? over on her site The Cat’s Write. Similarly, Jenny in Neverland recently posted 25 Spring & Summer blog post ideas (several of which I jotted down on my Bellyful of Art calendar!) to help inspire fellow bloggers over the coming months. So if you’re struggling for content or wondering how to develop your following, why not take inspiration from these two fabulous bloggers?!
Sort yourself out with a calendar
When I first launched Bellyful of Art in 2014, I dutifully set-up an editorial calendar (as all good beginner’s guides told me I should). After about two weeks, however, my schedule began to lapse and soon I was looking at six long weeks with no content.
Since relaunching Bellyful of Art this year, I’ve set-up a new calendar, one that contains a number of notable dates (awareness days, holidays, anniversaries, events etc.) that could potentially inspire my next post. It’s on this calendar that I also jot down what posts will be published and when (though I have to admit, I’m a bit rubbish at sticking to self-imposed deadlines and regularly find myself posting later than planned!).
If you’re an organised person, then you’ve probably already got this bit nailed, but if you haven’t considered a calendar before, I’d definitely recommend starting one. It’ll save you a lot of time and a lot of frustration in the long run providing you keep it full. You can find free templates for this sort of thing online or you could do it the old-fashioned way and buy a wall calendar or diary (now there’s a novel idea!).
If you want to be a writer you need to read – I’ve heard that one piece of advice so many times over the years and it’s completely true. Read newspapers, magazines, blogs. Scour Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Find out what interests people, what gets them talking, and then find new and interesting ways to write about it.
I follow several writers on social media who write insightful, eloquent pieces on subjects that are personal yet relevant to a wider audience and I find their work regularly sparks new ideas of my own (for your reference Dolly Alderton, Bryony Gordon and Laura Jane Williams are just a few of the writers that I’m currently following on Instagram).
Use writing prompts
If you’re really struggling for content, there’s nothing better than a good prompt to help you out. Ironically, at the beginning of last year I wrote The Ultimate Writing Prompt, a post that highlighted the inspirational nature of old postcards and how you could find new stories and unique characters within their short messages. (Had I continued to follow my own advice ten months ago then perhaps Bellyful of Art wouldn’t have been neglected for quite so long!!) My postcard stash was given to me as a gift, but I imagine you can find used postcards at flee markets and car boot sales across the country, so get hunting!
If you don’t have time for postcard shopping, The Daily Post offers a new one-word prompt everyday. If you’re sat in front of a blank page wondering where to start, why not check out how other people have interpreted ‘Invisible’, ‘Identical’ or ‘Blush’ (just a few recent examples) and then create something of your own. I’ve never participated myself, but I like knowing that The Daily Post’s one-word prompts are there as a back-up.
If you need a break, take one
I think one of the big reasons I fell out of love with Bellyful of Art last year is because blogging (and, to a point, writing as a whole) became a chore. I put too much pressure on myself, told myself that it ‘had to be done’. My blogging break gave me distance, made me re-evaluate where I wanted Bellyful of Art to go and, ultimately, was one of the best things I could have done in order to return with more motivation, inspiration and enthusiasm. Admittedly, a break isn’t for everyone, but if you think it might help, then why not start by taking just a day (if you’re a daily blogger) or a week or two off? Don’t worry, your dedicated readers will still be there when you get back!
What do you think? Do you have any strategies that have helped you out in times of creative difficulty? If you do, I’d love to hear them!